Friday, June 24, 2011

South Dakota: petitions handed in to recall Huron mayor

South Dakota: Petitions have been handed in to recall mayor over police chief departure and illegal immigrants issue; Law requires an opponent otherwise no recall is held

Texas: Galveston mayor facing petitions

Texas: Petitions have been taken out to recall the mayor of Galveston; They need about 3,000 signatures. Issue is the use of Hurricane recovery funds.

Michigan: Language issues plaguing Senate recalls

Michigan: petitions against three senators rejected due to questions over language. Sounds like it will go to the courts soon enough

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Washington: Campaign Finance issues plague recall

From the Election Law Blog, op-ed and Institute for Justice press release claims Washington State law handcuffs recall proponents by limiting donations (including legal time) to $800. Piece makes a strong argument, especially since Washington requires judicial approval of the recall.

Michigan: Shelby Township recall fails to meet petitions

Michigan: Shelby Township recall fails, falling short by 501 signatures (turned in 7275, needed 6,318). The recall was facing challenges due to timing issues -- the recall proponents turned in the signatures on a Monday, two days later than statutorily required, because the building was closed on Saturday.

Michigan: Second time around on state Senate recall petitions

After petition language rejected, group is now putting forth new petitions for state Senate recall. Township supervisor races to be first to hit Goodwin's law.

Texas: Pushed off date for Killeen recall results in lawsuit

Lawsuit filed over date of Killeen recall

Wisconsin: Runoffs happening, primarycandidates pulled

Two Republicans approved to face off in runoff primary for the Holprein recall; Recall campaign pushes one targeted Republican to begin accepting PAC funds; Democrats remove "fake" primary candidates, while list of primary candidates finalized
North Dakota: Petitions approved for Valley City Mayor, City Commissioner

New York Times and Los Angeles Times on recalls

New York Times and Los Angeles Times both write about recalls (with my comments included). The NYT piece is focused on Pearce, the LAT is a more global piece.

Friday, June 17, 2011

You have selected Regicide -- the poor showing of recalls against Legislative leaders

With the signatures still being counted on the recall campaign against Arizona Majority Leader Russell Pearce, it is a good time to note that of the 20 state legislative recalls in US History, only two have been against legislative leaders.

Overthrowing a legislative leader is a major undertaking, In his great book The Ambition and The Power, John Barry compares it to regicide. While legislative leaders (especially Democrats)  do loses races, or are overthrown in palace coups, there is usually a reason they are in charge of the chamber -- they generally have the stronger than average political skills. Additionally, despite recent electoral surprises, like US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, the legislative leaders are frequently selected from extremely one-party safe districts.

In this article in the Arizona Capitol Times, I looked at both of the recalls against legislative leaders.
I found a comment to the piece very instructive. The commentator argues that the point of the recall against Pearce may not be to defeat him (which frankly seems like a longshot in that district and with the issues they are using), but instead to knock him down a peg, and serve as a warning shot against anyone backing the issues that Pearce supports (such as his stand on immigration).

Both of the former legislative leader recalls followed a similar line of arguments. The first one, against California Senator David Roberti in May 1994, was a clear interest-group recall. He was targeted specifically because of his stance in favor of gun control legislative, and gun rights supporters were very clear that they wanted Roberti to serve as an example. Due to other factors, specifically the Republican wave that came later that year, gun control has never recovered as an issue. Hard to give to much credit to the recall of Roberti.

From another perspective the Roberti recall served as a strong warning. Roberti was nearing the end of his tenure in the Senate, and he decided to run for state Treasurer. His run failed. He has good claims in saying that the recall damaged his chances of success -- it tied him down to his district and he had to raise and spend money for the defense. However, he lost to a deep-pocketed candidate with the support of both US Senators.

The second recall was against Michigan Speaker Andy Dillon in 2008. Dillon was targeted by anti-Tax groups. The recall involved numerous court battles, questions over whether the backers actually collected enough signatures, and a debate over the date. In the end, the recall was set for Election Day, which, as I've mentioned before, is a great benefit for elected official. Dillon was actually on the ballot twice that day, once for the recall and once for the reelection. Dillon survived the vote, garnering 64%, and kept his Speakership.

Hard to say that there was any real impact of the Dillon recall. Two years later, Dillon ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor, which he lost. The recall did not seem to have any impact on the primary campaign, and as an issue, taxes were no less or more important because of the recall.

Pearce already appears to be a lightening rod for criticism. The recall backers are certainly hoping that targeting Pearce will serve as a warning for others. On the other hand, if Pearce scores a strong victory, it could embolden his supporters and serve as an argument in favor of his core positions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recall Review: Wisconsin, Arizona, New Jersey and Texas

Wisconsin: "fake" primaries to cost over $400,000 ;Some more on Wisconsin

Arizona: Pearce recall nearing approval

New Jersey: good history of the state's recall provisions

Texas: Court may be forced to call recall if Council won't

Not directly recall related, but here's my article in Politico on Rep. Weiner's predicament. It is focused on the difference between federal and state law in forcing someone out of office.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wisconsin's Three Democratic recalls set, with spoiler candidates jumping in

While acknowledging some claims of petition fraud, the GAB has certified all three Democratic recalls. Hard to say serious the fraud was -- the stories are unclear, but at first glance, it doesn't seem that serious.

Long-time Republicans are running in the Democratic primaries (for the Republican held senate seats) as spoilers, apparently hoping to give the Republican candidates more time to fundraise (and I would bet, also to push the election to the less hospitable grounds of August). Some commentators are getting worked up by this tactic, but spoiler candidates are nothing new. However, the Democrats are right to hammer away here (from a tactical point of view). Allegations of unfair play and underhanded tactics will undermine the Republicans claims against the recall and benefit the party. As such, the blatant use of spoiler candidates could be a poor decision.

The Republicans may also be shooting themselves in the foot by having every race have a primary. As I mentioned,  it may be beneficial for the Republicans to have two separate votes -- the first being recalls of Republicans, the other a month later being the Democratic recalls. Apparently, the Republicans disagree.

Hercules, California recalls and removes two Council members, one of the replacements already pressured to resign

Hercules, California recalled two members of its City Council, with 87% and 80% voting to remove. One of the replacement officials is being pressured to resign because he lied on his resume.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recall Review: Hercules, Cali faces recall; NJ, Wisconsin, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and more

Wisconsin: GOP leaders encourage spoiler candidates in two Republican races.

Arizona: Pearce petition counting ahead of schedule, may preempt the botched advice problem that could have pushed the vote to March of next year; Tom Tancerdo raising funds for Pearce

California: Hercules City Council facing two recall votes on Tuesday. Cost will be $42,000; Proponents drop Hacienda recall attempt against school board members for instituting a Chinese-government funded culture program. One sentence worth excerpting: "Board members were served with intent to recall notices alleging that they made an agreement with the Chinese government to "extend China's influence in the U.S." and "manipulate students to serve China's government."

New Jersey: Threat to recall Trenton Mayor

Colorado: Recall threat of Colorado Springs school district board member

Texas: Recall proponent looking at hiring a lawyer to force city to put recall on the ballot

Philippines: Recall threats seem to be regular part of life

Friday, June 3, 2011

Historical perspective on Wisconsin Democrats Going after Governor Walker

News today that Democrats are going to try and recall Gov. Walker next year. They are riding a strong wave, but some perspective is in order. There have only been two Governors to ever face a recall -- North Dakota's Lynn Frazier in 1921 and California's Gray Davis in 2003. Additionally, a recall was set to be scheduled for Arizona Governor Evan Meacham, but he was removed by impeachment before the recall was held.

There have been plenty of failed attempts to recall Governors throughout the country. California had 31 attempts before Gray Davis got on the ballot.

The big problem for recall proponents in Wisconsin is that the state has a very high hurdle for the recalls to get on the ballot. The state has only a 60 day window for signatures. California has 160 days. The proponents need 25% of the vote in the last election. California needed only 12%.

Recall Review: NY, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin

New York: State Senator introduces recall provisions, not the first bill out there on recalls, but the first one that includes judges

Arizona: Pearce supporters start hitting back; Pearce puts out statement; Focus of Pearce defenders appears to be attack on non-district (or non-state) actors.

Michigan: Buena Vista School Board Members resign in the face of August 2nd recall over Superintendent contract; Shelby Township supervisor calls for dismissal of recall campaign because petitions handed in late. The petitions were due on a Saturday, but the date was extended to Monday based on a Michigan law. The Supervisor argues that the more lenient law is not applicable to the recall.

Wisconsin: Registration statement filed in campaign to recall Ashland Mayor

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wisconsin Battles: Legitimate complaints, regular political tactic or working the ref?

The GAB's decision to sign off on the six Republican recalls, while delaying approval on the Democratic recalls has led to a chorus of complaints from Republicans. I don't know the details,and while they may be valid, the complaints do sound like standard-issue political tactics, the same type that both sides of the aisle use all the time. Whenever there is a ruling that seems to starkly benefit one side, it pays to call in to question the fairness of the referees. The "we wuz robbed" feeling motivates your side and gives credence to the argument that the process is political and unfair. The "working the ref" angle is also in play. I don't know the degree of interpretation is involved in the signature validation stage, but by claiming that the refs have been unfair, the Republicans can hope that the GAB will bend over backwards to get the Democrats on the ballot as well. Again, nothing special, just standard political battles.

Two other developments of interest: One of the most endangered Republicans, Senator Dan Kapanke, was caught on a secret recording saying that he hopes government workers sleep in on the recall. An embarrassing gaffe, though one that pushes a central part of the Republicans plank -- this is a small interest group pushing the recall. The other fact to come out of the recording is that the Republicans were looking for a spoiler candidate to run against the Democratic opponent of Kapanke. Spoilers are a time-honored traditions, helping to bloody the opponent before a race. But there is a different benefit here. As I mentioned before, having a divided electoral calendar may help the Republicans regain the moment of any seats lost on the first electoral day. By splitting off one election, they could keep the same result. Kapanke  also might realize the benefit of having his vote held on a different day than the rest of his colleagues. By then, the Republicans might have lost their majority, and the Democrats might not be as motivated to kick Kapanke out.

Recall: Texas Replacement Vote, Seattle, California, Arizona, Initiative

Texas: Interesting development in the replacement election for La Marque mayor. Two candidates have dropped out, leaving only two left, one of whom is the recently recalled mayor Geraldine Sam

Washington: Talk of recall against Seattle Mayor

California: Petitions taken out to recall three Lincoln Councilmembers

Arizona: Petitions out to recall Oro Valley Vice Mayor and councilmember

Odawa Indians: Definition of "calendar year" could prevent recall of Chairman and Vice Chairman of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Initiatives: California's really like having the initiative; Also worth checking out is this series of posts by Professor Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog and John Matsusaka on judges striking down initiatives

Two unrealted articles that I wrote: One on VPs and the presidency and the other on Kucinich and moving to a new state